Okay, I'm all packed a ready to go!
Tomorrow morning I head off on my combined conference and visiting road trip in ACT and NSW.
I am taking part in the ABA International conference Step Up and Reach Out: developing an inclusive breastfeeding society being held in Canberra. I decided to extend my stay to visit family and friends and am hiring a car in Canberra and then driving to Sydney, flying back home from there instead.
The area west of Canberra includes the places that many of my ancestors and some of my living relatives called home. Our Australian family history goes back to the arrival of James and Mary Buckley, convicts, in 1816 and their pioneering children, grandchildren and their descendents spread out to areas around Wagga Wagga, many of which I shall travel through. Although I have visited before, I love to be in the places I know so well from the records we have - places like Gundagai, Tumut, Junee, Cootamundra and Temora, as well as Wagga itself, where my aunt lives. I will also visit my uncle in tiny Batlow, but - ironically - cannot visit their sister in Canberra as she is currently visiting her daughter in the suburb where I live! She returns to Canberra the day I depart.
Then there is my drive up to Bathurst and across the Blue Mountains - my first visit here (unless my parents took me as a toddler!). At school, studying Australian explorers, it was always the trio who crossed these mountains which captured my imagination, fueled by the streets near our home named Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. So I am looking forward to following their path in reverse (and a lot more comfort!)
Then it is down to Parramatta, where James and Mary lived and are buried in the local cemetery. I hope to visit my cousin from this family who lives there but I will also be flipping over to my fathers family and spending time with cousins from that side, including the very newest member of the family, born last week!
I hope to spend a morning in Circular Quay on my final day, before driving to the airport. Much as it pains me as a Melbournian, the area around the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, with the ferries and The Rocks is a place I have come to love. I have never made it to the Sydney Botanical Gardens though, so hoping to squeeze that in.
So - ten days I will be on the road and planning to blog along as I go.And through the wonders of the modern world, here is my itinerary online - if I am heading your way, give me a shout and maybe we can meet up for a cuppa!
View 2011 Road Trip in a larger map